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1948 Slowly the threads are picked up again
Jewish neighbourhood
Jewish neighbourhood
Jewish neighbourhood
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Boris Kowadlo - The demolition of the Jewish neighbourhood recorded

A commission by the Nieuw Israëlitisch Weekblad (newspaper) results in Kowadlo’s first book. In 1948 he supplies the photographs for a series of eleven articles called ‘The ghetto that disappeared’ about the old Jewish neighbourhood in Amsterdam. These articles were written by the well known Jewish historian Jaap Meijer and were in the form of a walk through the area.

 This is the first time that photos of the abandoned area were shown in the newspaper and readers are overcome by what they see. Kowadlo manages to convey the destructive effects of the Shoah in a poignant way with penetrating, almost surreal images showing the total abandonment and desolation of this once so lively neighbourhood.

For many survivors the photographs represent the social and psychological emptiness with which they have to continue their lives after the war.

By popular demand Jaap Meijer’s texts and Boris Kowadlo’s photographs are published in book form in the same year; the book sells well and it is reprinted in 1949.


Source: Boris Kowadlo: fotograaf tussen herinnering en toekomst by Bernadette van Woerkom.

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Jewish neighbourhood

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1938 Many Jewish refugees after Kristallnacht

Many Jewish refugees flee to the Netherlands after Kristallnacht. Princess Juliana also feels connected to the Jewish community. But while more attention is drawn to the admittance of more Jews, NSB members threaten more intervention.

1940 Amsterdam occupied

Nothing changes too much for the Frank family in the beginning. Opekta moves to the Prinsengracht. During air raids bombs cause death and injury in Amsterdam.

1940  Amsterdam occupied

1941 Jews allowed to do and less

It starts with a cinema ban but rapidly Jews are banned from virtually all public places. Jewish children must attend separate schools. This also applies to Anne and Margot Frank.

1941  Jews allowed to do and less

1942 It becomes more dangerous for Jews

On her thirteenth birthday Anne Frank receives a diary. A few days later she writes about the situation in Amsterdam. The introduction of the Jewish star and the raids. In July the Frank family goes into hiding.

1942  It becomes more dangerous for Jews

1943 Deportations and attacks

While the Frank family is in hiding thousands of Jews are deported from Amsterdam. The resistance tries to hinder the deportations by attacks including one on the Public Registry. It doesn’t stop them.

1943  Deportations and attacks

1944 Discovered and arrested

On 4 August the people in hiding in the secret annex are discovered and arrested. From Westerbork they are taken to Auschwitz. When the Allies land in the south of the Netherlands there is hope that the country will be liberated. German soldiers and NSB members flee the country after Dolle Dinsdag (‘Mad Tuesday’).

1944  Discovered and arrested

1945 Joy and sadness

A celebration at the Dam on 7 May is ruined when people are killed after German soldiers shoot at the crowd. On 8 May Amsterdam is officially liberated. Otto Frank returns. He knows that Edith is dead. He only hears later that his two daughters have not survived.

1945  Joy and sadness

1946 Slowly the threads are picked up again

On 3 May 1946 the first official commemoration for those who died during the war is held. Anne Frank’s diary is published on 25 June 1947. Life in Amsterdam slowly gets back to normal. Of the 70,000 Jews who lived in the city in 1940 only 10,000 have survived the war.

1950 Lasting memory

Even five years after the liberation the reverberations from the war are still clearly noticeable. The Jewish community thanks Amsterdam for the help given to Jews with a monument.

1950  Lasting memory
  • 1950
  • To those who protected the Dutch Jews during the years of the occupation. Protected by your love. Encouraged by your resistance. Mourning with you.

    Part of the citation on the monument ‘Jewish Gratitude’
  • picture:Once a year, two minutes silence

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